Frequently Asked Questions About Psychoanalysis

What is the difference between psychoanalysis and other forms of psychotherapy?
Psychoanalytic (dynamic) psychotherapy is similar to psychoanalysis, but less intensive and more focused on immediate situations, and reflection on patterns of behavior. Cognitive therapy works with the patient’s rational thought patterns on resolving particular symptoms. Behavioral therapies seek to modify behavior with rewards and/or consequences.

In contrast, psychoanalysis works by uncovering the sources of the patient’s present difficulties within their past experiences. It helps them understand how these factors outside their awareness can influence their emotions, thoughts, and actions/behavior. Once aware, it helps them remove obstacles to development of necessary skills, explore new, more healthy solutions to their problems, and integrate these solutions into their adult lives thus freeing them from inner constraints to become happier, more caring, productive, and creative.

What is transference?
Transference is a clinical tool Freud discovered. The clinical meaning in therapy is different from the term used in non -clinical settings that has perhaps a more negative connotation. When one interacts with another, there are certain emotions that we become aware of, sometimes almost immediately and more intensely than we might anticipate having just met someone. This is an everyday experience of transference (to have feelings generated by one person that unconsciously relate to previous encounters with others that in some way we are reminded of) often it is important to note these reactions to better understand our present interactions.

Do I lie down on a couch?
This is the traditional setting of psychoanalysis. However, analysts and clients (analysands) generally discuss all aspects of treatment including the reasoning behind this recommendation and any thought or feelings you might have about this. In some cases, sitting up face-to -face is felt as uncomfortable and this alternative position may free the mind of worrying about the analyst’s reactions, etc. In any case this as well as all recommendations are discussed or processed together to explore the meaning and come to a mutual agreement between patient and therapist.

What is child and adolescent psychoanalysis?
Psychoanalysis is a form of psychotherapy conducted four or five times a week in appointments usually lasting 45 or 50 minutes. The goal is the restoration of healthy, progressive development so youngsters can achieve their full potential. This approach is not a “quick fix”. Instead, it helps the child/adolescent overcome troubles and delays while building deep, long-lasting strength and resilience. For children with severe emotional disorders, researchers from the Anna Freud Centre in London in collaboration with The Yale Child Study enter found intensive treatment over a long period of time was more effective than shorter therapies, or a combination of therapy and medications.

How does the analyst work with children and adolescents?
In the analyst’s room, the younger children usually play with toys, or draw, paint, or model with clay as they talk. Words play, and activity are ways children express their inner world. Adolescents usually just talk. Whatever activity or kind of verbal expression the child chooses, the analyst is there to listen and understand, and to share this understanding with the child or adolescent. Often children and adolescents find quick relief from their acute symptoms. Further growth comes when analysts are able to help children adolescents verbalize problems in a way that they were unable to do on their own. This can free the youngster from acting on his or her feelings and allow more intentional, self-directed action growth. Psychoanalysis helps children and adolescents accept who they are and become who they want to be. It helps them resume a course of healthy, progressive development.